Video surveillance systems have been on the scene for many years. With the proliferation of the internet, and the many uses and benefits it provides, it’s natural that video surveillance take advantage of these new technologies. And as more companies migrate their security system to all IP,analog cameras are being replaced by their IP counterparts. This transition is occurring despite that IP video cameras are still more expensive than their analog counterparts. However, customers who begin the conversion from analog to IP surveillance have an accessible and practical way to ease the transition.
Enter the encoder. Many corporations and businesses have mandates to replace current analog applications with all IP. Given the higher costs of the components (cameras, NVRs, etc.), encoders provide a cost-effective approach in phasing in the IP solution, allowing customers to protect some of their initial investment while taking advantage of the benefits of network video. For end users with large legacy analog systems, one of the most important benefits of encoders is that the technology provides the luxury of building out the full IP system as time and budgets allow, potentially meaning the difference of replacing an analog system with a lower-cost IP video system in the short term or gradually transitioning to the more powerful solution over several months or years.
Encoders are seen as a transitional technology in that they bridge the conversion from analog to IP. Encoders simply convert or translate analog video streams to digital so that the video can be transmitted over the IP network and then stored digitally on network video recorders (NVRs). Encoders also allow users to view the live images from the analog cameras on local or remote computers on the network.
A good example of where this transition is occurring with regularity is in the gaming industry. Many casinos around the globe have extensive video applications that allow surveillance departments to have eyes on the gaming tables, large entrances, gift shops, exits, and bars. A majority of these casinos have hundreds of analog cameras already in place, and it is just too expensive to replace all of them. By using encoders, they can now begin replacing cameras in key areas first and install IP cameras over time, allowing them to protect their initial investment as they migrate to IP.
Although encoders are used mainly in transitional situations mentioned above, they are also used in applications where a specialty camera is needed. Some specialty cameras include thermal imaging, license plate capture, and door intercoms with integrated cameras. While IP versions of these specialty cameras are starting to make their way to market, encoders again offer a less expensive solution to protect the original analog, specialty camera investment to integrate the video with a new VMS system.
What are your thoughts on the use of analog encoders to leverage existing analog investment into an IP solution?